Government urged to pay up

Scottish farmers are calling on the Scottish Government to immediately address the cashflow crisis in Scottish agriculture by delivering part payment to all claimants.

In the past week, only seven per cent of claimants to the new Common Agricultural Policy support scheme have received part-payment.

That means since the payment run started in late December, the total percentage of Scottish claimants that have received part-payment is only 35 per cent. It is likely that significantly less than 35 per cent of the total pot of available funding has been distributed meaning that the cash crisis on farms is deepening.

NFU Scotland has repeatedly called for the Scottish Government to recognise that its delivery system remains badly flawed and only immediate steps to deliver 90 per cent of payments to 90 per cent of recipients can avert a worsening crisis for the whole Scottish rural economy.

Farmer Tom French commented: “I welcome our local MSPs meeting with us to hear about the severity of the current crisis and the impact that it is having – not just at farm level – but for the whole rural economy.

“Quite frankly, the wheels have stopped turning.

“We knew 2016 would be a difficult year as we changed to the new CAP regime but we now have the perfect storm of low commodity prices, poor weather and severe delay in getting support payments out to the industry. Every day is adding further costs but much of that burden is currently being carried by those businesses who supply us. Bills traditionally settled in December are going unpaid and orders are drying up.

“The message from today to the Scottish Government was to put your aversion to risk aside and do all you can to get the vast majority of payments out the door to the vast majority of businesses.”